June Mar Fajardo on winning a record-tying fifth ‘Best Player’ award: Malayo pa iyun

June Mar Fajardo said tying his former mentor and basketball idol Danny Ildefonso’s record five Best Player of the Conference awards would be a great honor.

It is no secret that the 6-foot-10 Fajardo was tutored by Ildefonso during the former’s rookie season in 2013 when both players played together at Petron (San Miguel’s former name).

In fact, the two-time league MVP said Ildefonso even told him he’ll surely win multiple individual awards in the future.

“Oo nabanggit niya din sa akin (about winning more individual awards). Kapag nakuha ko yun (fifth Best Player award), siyempre masaya. At least makaka-level ko na si kuya DI (Ildefonso’s initials),” Fajardo told FOX Sports, moments after San Miguel Beer nipped NLEX, 114-110 to advance to the PBA Governors Cup semifinals.

The 6-5 Ildefonso, who retired before the start of the 2016 season, won five straight Best Player awards starting in the 2000 Commissioner’s Cup and through the 2001 Governors Cup.

The soft-spoken SMB big man though isn’t thinking about top individual award for the conference just yet, noting that he still has to deal with TNT combo guard Jayson Castro, who leads the Best Player statistical race at the end of the eliminations with 40.5 SPs.

Castro’s been superb this conference after averaging 21.5 points, a career-high 7.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds to lead TNT to a tournament-best 10-1 record and the top seed in the playoffs.

“Sa ngayon malayo pa yun kasi malakas din ang ka-kompitensya ko kasi nandun si Jayson, tapos mabigat din ang makakalaban namin sa semis, either Ginebra or Alaska,” said Fajardo, who finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists against the Road Warriors. Richard Dy

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